Lam Chuan Leong, Chairman, IDA Singapore - Speech Infocomm Asia 2001 Opening Ceremony

Lam Chuan Leong, Chairman, IDA Singapore - Speech
Infocomm Asia 2001 Opening Ceremony
Singapore, 21 March 2001

1 When Infocomm Asia made its debut in 1995, it hosted over 50 exhibitors and 4,000 visitors. This year, Infocomm Asia is hosting over 160 international exhibitors and welcoming 10,000 visitors.

2 These figures illustrate the fundamental trend of increasing awareness and interest in the development of communications and information technology.

3 Now we all know that the current mood regarding the immediate economic outlook is rather uncertain and subdued. The past euphoria regarding the valuation of so called companies and technology in general may no longer be what it was. We can not be sure of how long such a period will last. However, our interests should lie in the longer medium term as we ride out the current situation.

4 This is a time therefore for us to build on the fundamentals that have served us well. We should continue to hone our competitiveness, to position ourselves to upgrade into higher value added services, to exploit new skills and technology, and to build up the public infrastructure both physical and as well as in human skills.

5 Such activities will allow us to be better prepared for the opportunities that lie ahead once we pass over the current uncertainties.

6 Whilst the US is a key economy, whose health will affect almost every other economy, Asia is emerging to be an area with key strengths and opportunities of its own. Shows such as Infocomm Asia offer the opportunity to explore the synergies that exist between infocomm industries within the Asian space.

7 Different countries in Asia have had remarkable success in specific areas in Infocomm. Broadband Internet has been immensely popular and successful in South Korea. Japan has given the world a glimpse of the potential of mobile communications in the form of NTT DoCoMo. Japan will also be the first to roll out 3G services.

8 China is also one of the region's most promising markets. Just last week, China's government reported that the number of mobile phone users in China is expected to triple by 2005. Some companies have found the China market extremely profitable for their operations.

9 India is also closely watched both as a great potential market and also for its access to an immense talent pool for the industry. I am heartened by the fact that many small and medium Singapore companies are beginning to have viable business ventures in or with India.

10 Singapore, as you well know, has always been plugged into the global economy since it was founded as a port. Today, it has similar opportunities in facilitating the region's collaborative efforts. I'm glad to hear just now that you will be going to China in 2002. That is an illustration of this point. We have the physical infocomm infrastructure largely in place, we have a legal framework that provides a sound basis for business transactions, and we have sound economic policies that promote efficiency and business development through sound competition.

11 Given the underlying promising trend of the Infocomm industry, therefore, I hope that all of you will through this Infocomm Asia 2001 have even greater opportunities to meet with others in the region to explore the many business opportunities that lie ahead.